A/N: Leave your thoughts below!
“Draco,” she said. “The hitman you told us about, Taurus?”
Taurus nodded. “He is the one.”
Lyra just smiled more widely and finished her tea. Then she looked at the girl who was hugging her like a koala. “I am here, Ant. Loosen your hold a little.”
“I won’t,” the princess pouted. “I won’t. Aries will steal you away.”
Lyra laughed. “I promise. He won’t.”
Aries playfully glared at Antlia. There was a certain lightness to the Warrior than I had first seen him.
Lyra then raised her head. “Is there something?”
I pursed my lips and pulled a chair for myself. Would it be right of me to say it? Would she help me? But there was something about those gold eyes that calmed me like no other. I could hear some voices, I was sure I had never heard them before.
I gulped. “My parents were werewolves.”
“Tell us something we don’t know,” Niran commented.
“And I have never shifted,” I continued, ignoring him. “For forty-seven years.”
Niran frowned. “Are you sure you’re not adopted?”
But Lyra was calm. She nodded, asking me to continue.
I said, “And Taurus did say that I was a shifter.”
“Is it so?” she asked.
If she said that I was not a werewolf, then I did not know what to believe anymore. I was having a difficult time to accept that shifters were still there and I was one of them. I had been under the impression that I knew about myself. But certain truths or rather questions were making me question who I was.
“So were my parents,” she said. “But I am not a werewolf. Nor am I a shifter.”
I just blinked at her. What the hell was she saying? Was she a vampire or a witch then? Or was she just a human? But the power she was radiating was no less than what Taurus or Aries were radiating. Ancient and mysterious.
“What the hell Aries!” Niran jumped. “Your mate is just a human?”
Wrath shrouded the First Warrior. “What the hell do you mean by that?”
“Y-you are a star!” Niran protested. “She is a weaker race than you-”
Before Aries could explode, Lyra swept her gaze from me to the vampire. “A weaker race, you say? You are saying that humans are a weaker race?”
Antlia quietly sniggered in the corner while Zyon rolled his eyes. Taurus just muttered, “I don’t know him.”
“N-no?” Niran gulped. “Damn it! Who the hell are you?”
“Exactly,” she said. “I am hell.”
Sam laughed, trying to dispel the thick ominous aura that Lyra and Aries were releasing. “He does not know, Lyra. Leave him be.”
She settled down. “I was a human when I achieved the title of the head researcher of West pack. Humans are not weak.”
Niran nodded his head fast. “Understood.”
I then recollected what Taurus told about Cathan and when I suddenly blurted that Cathan was a pulsar. He had been questioning Riley about who Lyra was.
“You are a pulsar,” I said, linking the scenario. “Right?”
She rose her eyebrows in surprise. “Right. I am.”
“And that is?” Antlia asked. Then her eyes widened. “Damn it, Lyra! You are keeping secrets from me.”
Lyra pinched her cheeks. “I am not. I just found who I am less than a month ago and I am meeting you only now.”
“Rhaze said you are something like a star or something,” Sam said.
“Right,” Eric nodded. “Aspen said the same thing.”
Lyra inhaled sharply. “Pulsar... I can’t believe that I have to tell the long story Luna told me again.”
“Long story?” Taurus said. “Luna told you?”
Lyra sighed. “I knew it all along, it’s just that-”
“-our memories are altered,” Aries whispered. “Cosmos meddled with it.”
There had been times when Lawan and Wirat dragged me to movies when the movie was already half over. I could understand those movies better than what was happening in front of me. I had not slept properly and I still did not have my coffee. Everything was taking a toll on me.
Lyra waved her hand. “What is it?”
I shook my head. “Nothing.”
“Missing morning coffee?” she asked.
My eyes widened. Where did this saviour of mine come from? How could she possibly know?
“Antlia is just like you,” she said. “Can’t work without caffeine.”
“How dare you!” Antlia burst. “Coffee is the best thing. Even you drink it sometimes!”
“I prefer tea in the morning,” Lyra said. “Only if I don’t have it, I drink coffee.”
“Please,” Antlia scoffed. “I saw how you drank coffee back at Varian’s house that we actually ran out of coffee.”
“I changed my preference,” she said. “Tea now.”
“Aspen is a bad influence,” Antlia muttered.
“Is she so?” Lyra asked.
Sam stood up and went to the coffee maker. He filled a mug and placed it before me. “Here’s your coffee.”
I smiled gratefully at him. How understanding these people-
Eric growled and when I turned, I saw him glaring daggers at me. Sam just shook his head and sat next to his mate, taking his hands in his. Possessive mates.
Lyra laughed. “You are getting jealous for Draco just smiling at your mate. I must say, you are lucky. Don’t you remember claiming me as your mate, Eric?”
Just like that, the irrational anger on his face gave way to sheer fear. Sweat beaded on his forehead and the Alpha gulped. Aries’ gaze pointedly fell on the trembling Alpha. From that look on Aries’ face, I knew that I should never come between him and Lyra.
“I still have to take your life,” he muttered. “Thanks for the reminder, darling.”
Lyra playfully hit on his arm. “I did not mean that!”
“He claimed you as his mate,” Aries protested. “You are mine Soul-Bound, love. It is an offence-”
“Aries!” she admonished. “You know better than this!”
“What do you mean?” Riley asked. “Eric claimed you as his mate?”
Glaring at her mate, Lyra said, “I had a twin once. Chris was supposed to be Eric’s mate. But since she died when she was three days old, Luna changed his mate from Chris to Sam. But Eric still felt the bond with Chris until he met Sam. So he mistook me as Chris and said I was his mate. That’s how it all happened.”
“Your twin is?” Riley asked. “Was she a pulsar too?”
Lyra shook her head. “No. She was a normal werewolf.”
“What is this pulsar?” Antlia asked. “How come I don’t know about it?”
“You know everything else then?” Taurus asked.
Antlia pouted and looked at Lyra.
“Seems like I do have to say it,” Lyra said.
I sipped my coffee as she said, “Universe is ruled by two. Cosmos and Chaos. While Cosmos created stars, Chaos created pulsars as his choice of race.”
“Then why don’t we see them?” Niran asked. “Like, I see Taurus, I know he is a star.”
“Pulsars are not welcome to this part of the universe,” Aries said. “Energies clashed.”
“And we Warriors,” Taurus said. “We are the first star to be made. You can call us first-generation stars.”
“Makes no sense,” Niran said.
“Cosmos and Chaos literally killed all the other races before they got the throne they are sitting on,” Lyra said. “So, they decided to create races that would listen to them. The first time Cosmos created the stars, she used too much energy to create them, such that they were too strong for her to control. But without telling them how powerful they are to them, she controlled them. Amazing how psychology works on stars too. So, then she created stars with less power and they are the stars as we know now. The Warriors are the first-generation stars. They hold so much power.”
Antlia wondered. “Is... is it so?”
Lyra nodded. “It is.”
The two Warriors gave each other a smirk.
“How do you fit in the equation?” Riley asked her.
“Just like Aries was created here, I was born in Abyss,” Lyra said cooly. “I am a first-generation pulsar. I was sent to this part of the universe to neutralise Aries.”
“What the fuck?” Antlia gasped.
Lyra shook her head. “Cosmos... took my memories and Luna and Surva gave me another chance. Hence, I was born without any memories, Ant. That’s why I did not know anything. But I regained my memories when I met Luna.”
We all just blinked at her. I cleared my throat. “You are just as equal as Aries, then?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“Okay,” I said. “But where does this all fit in?”
Where did I fit in?
Lyra stared at me for a long time. “To remove powers from us, Cosmos and Chaos separated the stars and the pulsars. This part of the universe has only stars and a few pulsars who are registered here.”
“Registered?” Antlia asked.
“The pulsars whose entries were authorised,” Lyra said. “Like me, Seren-”
I simply could no longer hear her words. It was like a siren, going off in my head. Loud high pitched scream. As the ringing sound overtook my other senses, I choked. The mug slipped between my fingers and it crashed down. While Taurus rushed towards me, Lyra and Aries were looking at me, as if they were expecting such a reaction from me.
“Draco!” Antlia cried as she left Lyra’s side.
That was all I could grasp of my reality when my head struck the table and everything became black.
Giant kelp like things stared back at me. It just danced in the space. When I tried to see its roots, it stretched down so far that I could not see it. It stretched equally high up. Just where was I?
Did I die and they threw my body into the sea? Even if so, why was I not able to feel my body? I must have died. That made so much sense.
“Draco?” a male voice called. “What are you doing here?”
I turned everywhere, but I could not see anyone. There could only be two possibilities. Either I had died and I was hearing the voices of the dead or I was having visual hallucinations. If I woke up in a hospital, I should consult a psychiatrist.
“Nothing much, Cathan,” another deep voice answered back. That person’s name was Draco too? “What brings you here?”
“I am a navigator,” Cathan said. “This is the Kelp Confusion. Don’t ask me. Aelius named it after he was drunk.”
“Makes sense,” the person with my name said. “Can’t I be here?”
“Cut the chase, Draco,” Cathan said. “You would not be here without any reason.”
“Just like you are a navigator,” he said. “There are others too.”
“Draco,” Cathan said. “Be serious. Space benders and Navigators-”
“I hope you know,” he said quietly. “That before life came to be, poison filled the space. It was the ones who were immune to any poison that controlled them and made sure that life was possible.”
“Oh my!” Cathan gasped. “I thought they were a myth. Cosmos and Chaos told it to scare us or something.”
“They are not,” he said. “They are immune to all the poisons this universe has to offer them. They can convert anything to poison as well.”
“If they are real,” Cathan said. “What does that has to do with you?”
I could hear a smirk in his voice. “I am one of them, Cathan. I control it. I am what you call an Immune. I am here, cause Tucana said that these Kelps can create the best poisons, I am here to check it out.”
“Y-you, Draco?” Cathan asked.
“Yes,” he said.
If the other person was named Draco, then why was my mind trying to convince me that it was me?
I tried to leave this Kelp Confusion as Cathan called it. Who were these Immune?
The voices faded away. I tried to make sense of what was happening wherever I was, but it was of no use. All I saw was kelp, kelp and kelp. Nothing else.
Now I understood why this place name was Kelp Confusion. I could see tiny fish-like things move, but I was not sure what it was. But I kept on moving.
It was then I saw two human-like figures were sitting on chairs opposite to each other with a table in between them. How that chair floated in space was something I could never know. Was the concept called gravity foreign here?
I moved towards them. The female was dressed in white, her sleeves loosely hanging on her shoulder with her blond hair like tendrils spilt over her back and a few stands over her face. Her eyes were laughing in mirth, while her lips were sealed.
The other one, the male, strikingly handsome, answered her playful mischievousness with a gentle look. His black hair reached his shoulders as his silver eyes looked straight into the female’s silver ones.
The female bit her lips and her slender finger took a white piece and kept it over the board. “Check.”
The male laughed. “I let you win, darling.”
“We both know that’s a lie, Thuban,” she said. “I am better at chess.”
“I don’t care what you are better at, Elta,” the male whom I heard speaking with Cathan said. Just where did he spring up from? Wait, did he follow me? “You better do the things you are supposed to do.”
“B-but, Draco!” she protested. “I am-”
“Eltanin!” Draco admonished. “You know where you are supposed to be. You are to be there with Surva right now.”
“Draco!” she mumbled. “Can’t you be a bit lenient? I am playing a game of chess with Thuban. Can’t I go after I finish this?”
“Surva is going to give birth to her children,” Draco stressed each word. “We don’t want anything to happen to the children, now, do we?”
“I am getting a paid holiday for all the work you ask me to do, Draco!” she huffed as she got up from her seat. “Elta, do this. Elta, do that.”
“You don’t work under me,” he said. “I just came here to tell you Cosmos’ message to you. If you have any questions, bring it to her.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Then win this game for me.”
“Fine,” the male said as Elta left them, but not before winking at Thuban.
“Taking her as your consort?” Draco asked.
Thuban shrugged. “I have not met my Soul-Bound and she has not met hers. What’s the crime in taking her as my lover?”
“Not at all,” he said. “It’s just that, I have never seen that doctor like that. Ever.”
“How long, Draco?” Thuban asked, moving his piece, in such a way that he was no longer under constraint.
“How long what?” that male asked, taking a human form.
Would I finally see who this male was? See how he looked like?
“The wait, Draco!” Thuban said. “I understand. But you have to know. The poison from the edges is already leaking. If the right person finds out-”
“I am here for that reason,” he said, setting himself on the seat Elta was sitting moments ago. But he was turned and I had to move around to see his face. He just moved one piece, “Checkmate.”
For some reason, that male’s fingers reminded me of my fingers. The pattern he wore his rings were the same as mine.
Thuban glared at the board and then looked up. “How are you all holding up? From what I see, only a few of you have help from stars. Many don’t even know that you guys are here. Even the one you are sent to neutralise does he even know-”
“He does,” he said, pushing his black hair back so that I got a glimpse of his sharp features. “He does. But he is bound. He can’t do anything.”
“How about the others?” he asked.
“My siblings are trying their best,” he muttered. “All my sisters are hogging inside that blasted lab, trying to find how the bind fell.”
“It could be her,” Thuban said, stressing on the word her. “You know her.”
“Even if it is her,” the other male snapped. “We can’t pin her without evidence. That’s why I am here, Tucana said she found some vibrations in Kelp Confusion. I am here to track it.”
“Look,” Draco said, finally turning his face. “Rionach was one of the first-generation stars. She freed herself from Cosmos’ hold. I spoke to Polaris and he did say that her fate was twined with Surva’s last daughter.”
But his words were no longer of any concern to me. For I was looking at a face, that was dangerously similar to mine. Every curve, every line, I knew how I looked. It was like staring into a mirror.
White lights greeted me when I finally managed to open my eyes. The spirit smell and the light prick on my right wrist confirmed the place where I was. A light blue blanket was thrown over me. I glanced down to find that I was still wearing my clothes.
Various scents blasted me, but only three were still fresh. I turned my head slightly to my left to see a Warrior glaring at me. I gulped. What mistake did I do now?
He gritted his teeth as he exhaled sharply. I immediately turned my head to the other side to see familiar gold eyes scanning a magazine while Zyon was staring at an orange as if it killed someone he loved.
When he looked up and saw that I was looking at him, a smile lit his face. “Draco! You’re up!”
I grunted. Then she slowly raised her head up and gave me a scrutinising glance. Like she knew something I did not know.
“Stop staring,” the Warrior grumbled.
Lyra simply smiled. “I was just wondering. It’s just that, my shift triggered Aspen to shift and I was wondering if this had anything to do with Draco shifting.”
“Oh!” his voice small.
“Why am I here?” I asked, after getting my control over my tongue.
“You passed out,” Lyra said. “I did say that you would recover in a few hours, but these two males were worrying over you like ducklings and made sure that you were hospitalised.”
I saw the two said males. While one began to peel the orange so carefully, the other had the guts to look embarrassed.
Lyra got up and pulled Zyon up with her. “I know, Draco, you still have a lot of questions. I will answer them. I am not going anywhere.” Then she paused. “Ant will not allow me to go anywhere. You can ask them when this ‘doctor’-” she said gesturing towards the one who was scratching his head. “-decides you are good to go. See you around.”
“Why are you-” Zyon protested as she pulled him with her.
I chuckled. That female knew how to keep things around her the way she wanted. In a way, she fit Aries not like a piece of a puzzle but more like complements to each other.
“I can’t believe that she is my sister by mating,” he said, slumping on a chair.
“And I can’t believe that you would have me hospitalised for just passing out,” I said.
When he opened his mouth to protest, I raised my right hand and then looked at him.
He pursed his lips and looked away. That was when a doctor came in. It was same doctor who treated Aiko yesterday.
“Draco, right?” she asked as she came and stood next to me.
I saw her name tag. Dr Hana Bell. She took a glance at the monitors next to me and then at the saline bottle.
“I see there is nothing wrong with you,” she said, smiling at me. “You were just overwhelmed at something and you passed out. There’s nothing to worry much. Once this bottle is done, you can go.”
“I...” I began. “I did not have to be admitted, right?”
“Nah,” she said, signing a document. “If not for that male,” she looked at a faintly flushing Taurus, “threatening to knock this hospital down, I would not have taken you in. You were completely fine. Even Dr Lyra confirmed it.”
“Dr Lyra?” I asked. What did that female do?
“She is quite famous around the research circle,” she said. “Her friend, Dr Aurelia was a great surgeon who left the hospital side about ten years ago to join the research. I knew them. Don’t worry.”
I nodded. “Thank you.”
“No problem,” she said. “Is there anything else?”
I shook my head. “No.”
She hummed. “I will get a nurse for the discharge procedures.”
“Thanks,” I said.
She just waved her hand and left the room.
“Threatening to knock the hospital down?” I asked, giving a look of displeasure at him. “And you claim Niran is more dramatic than you. I can see where that boy learnt from.”
“He is-” he began.
“Don’t argue with me on this one,” I said. “Accept it.”
He nodded his head seriously. “I will. Now, can you tell me what was wrong with you?”
“You won’t believe me,” I said, throwing my free left forearm over my eyes.
“Try me,” he challenged.
“I was having hallucinations,” I said. “Like I was seeing things. Things that did not make sense.”
“They never do,” he muttered.
“What?” I asked, taking my forearm from my line of sight.
“Nothing,” he said. “Do tell me about them. I will if they are hallucinations or not.”
“Cause you are a ‘doctor’?”
“Cause I have lived longer than you,” he said bluntly. “Now, tell me.”
I frowned. “Can’t you like enter my mind and see?”
“You want me to?” he asked.
“I mean,” I shrugged. “I feel so weird just thinking about it. I can’t say it out loud.”
Taurus nodded and then I felt something probing my mind. My eyes widened, but then he was gently coaxing me to allow him in. I was a bit hesitant, but I allowed him.
It took about five minutes before he got out of mind and he was gasping. One hand over his chest and the other on the handle of the chair to give him support. I threw the blankets off me and then tried to go to him, but the needle over my wrist stopped me.
Seeing me, he snarled, “Stay on the damned bed, Draco.”
“While you are gasping like a fish out of water?” I fired, gathering my courage to pull the needle out. “Not a chance.”
“I am fine!” he said after half a minute as he settled himself and drank a glass of water. “I am fine.”
Glaring at him, I sat on the bed. “Want to tell me what was that all about?”
“It was like a shock,” he said, shaking his head. “Like they were not hallucinations. But memories.”
“You are saying that those were my memories?” I asked in disbelief. “That it was not all made up? Like what the hell is Kelp Confusion? Who even grows that giant kelps? Which great brainy people play chess in the middle of it? You are saying that it all happened?”
“I have to talk to Aries about this,” he said. “He might know something.”
“Hello!” I waved my free hand. “I am here.”
“Those,” he said, his silver eyes piercing into mine. “Those are definitely not hallucinations, Draco. You were not imagining things.”
“Kelp Confusion does exist,” Taurus said. “Aelius did name it. Cathan did live once and he was the best navigator. Thuban and Eltanin were there to check how well the Kelp Confusion worked. And Draco, there were Immunes, who were able to take any form of poison in the universe and live. They were the ones to clear the poison from the universe so that life could live. So, Draco, what you saw was not a fabrication of your mind. I am afraid that it had happened in the past.”
A/N: What do you think of this chapter?
What do you think of Lyra now? What would she do? As for those who have not read Aries, it’s fine. You will know it soon.
What do you think of the flashes Draco got?
Until next time,